Selected articles from December 2005 issue published on TheFabricator.com:
Great Dane Trailers, one of the world's largest trailer manufacturers, wanted to consolidate on one CAD/CAM software system across its nine manufacturing locations. Following a recommendation from one of its machine suppliers, the company adopted SigmaNEST CAD/CAM nesting software, and just in a nick of time.
Laser beam sources with higher output powers and improved beam qualities have expanded the range of laser applications. Most system's lasers have power higher than 2 kW. Higher power does not always increase the speed, however. Increasing the power during thermal cutting value may cause increased heat-affected zones on the material and place higher demands on the motion system, thus limiting the cutting speed. A new patented cutting machine, the diffusion-cooled CO2 slab laser, may offer improved beam quality and smaller focus diameters under conditions comparable to conventional fast-axial-flow CO2 laser with 4-kW output power.
With its higher tensile and yield strengths, HSS is stronger at any given gauge than conventional "mild" steels. Initially, lighter-gauge HSS was used to replace heavier-gauge mild steel to reduce weight in many automotive parts, and this continues to be the most widely used application for HSS. However, as a new trend to run thicker and thicker gauges of HSS continues, stamping fabricators are evaluating their press feeding and coil handling equipment, as well as press tonnage capacities and die designs to ensure that these harder parts can be formed effectively. The dynamics of HSS have a bearing on feeding, straightening, and coil handling equipment.
In roll forming, non-stop punching and shear systems have traditionally employed simple open-loop control methods. Closed-loop (also called servo-based) systems can overcome many limitations of the open-loop design and yield higher line speeds, reduce downtime, and reduce scrap.
Electron beam welding is useful for many applications -- steel, aluminum, and exotic metals; thick, structural sections or thin, delicate components; and harsh conditions such as alternating loads and low temperatures. A programmable controller allows engineers to tailor the electron beam's power distribution, thereby creating a unique weld for each application. EBW often is used in applications that have stringent joint tightness and strength requirements and, in some cases, it is used for welds that cannot be done with any other joining method.
The traditional belt conveyors used to remove scrap from the stamping operations at American Trim's facility on Baxter Street in Lima, Ohio, just couldn't stand up to the gritty shop environment. The company found a successful alternative with a belt-less material movement solution from GSW Press Automation.
Roll-formed parts are subject to end distortion when the parts are cut at the end of the roll-forming line. Understanding the forces that contribute to end distortion is the first step to balancing the forces and eliminating end distortion.
A new laser cutter, a new panel bender, and two older punching and shearing combination machines, connected to a new automatedstorage-and-retieval system have helped an Indianapolis job shop stay on top of emergnecy orders that normally come its way.
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